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Ringling’s Head Honcho in Hot Water

Written by PETA | March 6, 2009

As the highly anticipated trial concerning the abuse of elephants by Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus rolls on, Kenneth Feld, the head of the company that owns the evil Ringling empire, has taken the stand.

On Tuesday, the multimillionaire CEO spewed his slick half-truths about how Ringling’s elephants live (they live in cramped barns, where they are chained much of the time and are at risk of developing tuberculosis) and how bullhooks are just used to “guide” the animals. He actually said, “I don’t view what I’ve seen as abuse.”


Watch this video of a former Ringling employee’s view to see what Kenneth Feld doesn’t consider “abuse.”
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Feld’s self-serving double-talk is sickening, but this trial has him backed into a corner. The fact that he can no longer deny that circuses use beatings and chains to force majestic elephants into a lifetime of servitude is exciting news for elephants.

Now for those of you a-wonderin’, here’s a point-by-point refresher course on Ringling’s checkered history of animal care. It’ll help you see through this smooth-talking CEO’s elephant pucky.

Written by Missy Lane

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  • Anne says:

    Incredible to see the video of the baby elephants on the floor tie down and pocked with electric objects. This is all from the Nazi Regime….dont you realize it? Investigate these people in their practices of training…if I was an elephant I would wait for the right moment to squash the head of any of the trainers that are so cruel to the elephants. Im so glad that there are famous people influences to stop this degrading practice towards a very inteligent animal. Anne

  • Suasoria says:

    Davaseq your story hurts me so much. I can’t imagine how difficult it was to witness. Thank you for posting. In the film Earthlings there is a whole segment on animals in entertainment and I have to say the elephant scenes are some of the most difficult to watch.

  • Eross says:

    Man… Those circus people are cruel.. And I thought I was going to go to a circus called “Jamaica Circus”! Curse those circus tamers!!!!

  • lynda downie says:

    I’m so glad there’s a Peta to challenge people like Feld who think they can do what they want to animals. I remember a guy who used to work with exotic animals bragging that he knew how to make them “cooperate” by hitting them in the mouth with the metal feeding bucket. Sadly he’s not alone in his callous reprehensible attitude to animals. I hope Feld gets the justice he deserves. Go PETA!

  • [email protected] says:

    dear sirs thank you for keeping the elephant abuse case in the hedlines. i personnaly have wittnessed barnum and bailey abuse an elephant. this was approx. 29 years ago but i remember it like yesterday. while in dowtown chatta tn. at a different eventnot ever any circus i was walking past memorial auditorium. the barnum and bailey circus was there with the elephants housed at ground level and indoors. i observed an elephant gently touching an overhead ceiling tile and raising the tile approx. 3 inches. whomever was there tending the elephantsbeat the elephant in the face with a large item. the item looked like a large metal mop head minus the mop. the elephant screamed and wet itself. i wish the circus going public got to see the reality of the circus.i still get tears in my eyes thinking about this and i am still angry. i have never been to but one small circus as a child.i had no choice in going i certainly would never support any venue that imprisions and abuses wild animals.i only wish the public could see this so they can believe for themselves. thank you again. the only way i have known how to help in any way is by boycotting any circus. i tell any one that they abuse animals and ask them not to support this. i have torn up free circus tickets… people act like this was an isolted incident. i am sure it was not.

  • Harlie says:

    Amanda stand outside the circus or near a main street before the circus even comes with people that dont like the circus. think of a clever saying to hold up. do something to attract attention. think of something simple. hope i helped. This is a horrrriiiibblleee way to treat animals.

  • Abby says:

    According to documents and news reports Ringling’s profits on the circus were up into the hundreds of millions of dollars last year this doesn’t count other stuff owned by the same company which I’m sure bolstered their profits all the more. It doesn’t sound like most circus goers are stopping in their tracks on the way in. Is the goal of the trial to shut down the circus? It seems like protests aren’t going to do it.

  • Kelsey says:

    I feel sorry for those poor elephants. Feld is an ignorant man if he thinks poking elephants with hooks isn’t abuse. I hope he gets what he deserves.

  • SparkyGump says:

    There truly is evil in this world. This man personifies it.

  • David says:

    RINGLING!!!! you make me so sick. They were in ATL few weeks ago I protested with a buncha othes we showed some of the undercover videos of the abuse to pple going into RINGLING made one woman cry and stopped a lot of pple in their tracks… video at protests is unbelievable effective RinGLING i hope you get shut down ASAP sooner the better.

  • Kelley says:

    Brienthe only circuses that care about animal welfare are the ones that don’t use animals at all!

  • Eliana says:

    Look I agree with you animals should not be in the circus many circuses dont treat them right nor do they have the resources to do so and its not like animals really do that much other then stand there and look pretty. But it feels like you are kind of attacking circus as a whole which isnt fair. Brien youre wrong there are more then a few circuses that care about animal welfare many circuses dont even use animals at all have you ever heard of the Cirque nouveau movement? Many contemporary circuses such as Cirque du Soeleil Cirque loize Circus Oz The Pickle Family Circus Archaos Le Cirque Invisible Circus Monoxide Circa The Moscow State Circus Cirque Le Masque Cirkus Cirkr Skewed Circus Lady Circus and Circus Amok just to name a few dont use animals at all. Circuses that use animals are mostly traditional circuses but there are even circuses that are more on the traditional side that either dont use animals or use domesticated animals such as dogs cats house cats not wild cats and in some cases horses which in my opinion isnt abuse because in those situations the animals are treated very well although I do think that horses is pushing it a little bit. Circuses such as the Big Apple Circus uses domestic animals and Circus Smirkus a youth circus that uses no animals are among these. So although I agree that animals should not be in the circus elephants tigers etc. because of their treatment and I personally think that its pointless to have domestic animals because they dont really do anything I think you need to be careful not to acuse circus as a whole because its not fair to contemporary circus artists like me and many people that I know who work very hard to be able to do the stunts that you see in the circus and have nothing what so ever to do with the poor treatment of animals. Please dont take this the wrong way Im not at all defending animal abuse in the circus I just want you to know that there is a lot more to the circus then just the traditional side.

  • amanda says:

    hey everybody i just found out that the Shrine Circus is coming to my city and i really want to go down there and do something about it…but i dont know what to do!

  • Brien Comerford says:

    I’ve had it in general with circuses and there lies about how well they treat their animals. Only a few circus companies truly care about animal welfare.